The San Francisco Giants just won the World Series for the second time in three years.
Did they win because “Kung Fu Panda” homered three times in Game 1? No.
Did they win because Madison Bumgarner threw seven innings of two-hit shut out ball in Game 2? No.
Did they win because Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Lincecum combined for eight innings of five-hit shut out ball in Game 3? No.
They didn’t even win because of Marco Scutaro’s 10th inning single that drove in Ryan Theriot with the winning run in Game 4.
They won because of leadership.
They won because the culture created by that leadership led to the play on the field mentioned above.
As important as the contributions of Pablo Sandoval, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum, Marco Scutaro and Ryan Theriot were, they take a backseat to those of Larry Baer, Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy.
Chances are pretty good that Bochy is the only name that you recognize. Bochy gets to manage as well as he does because General Manager Sabean gets him players who buy in.
Sabean gets those players because President Baer empowers him to do his job. That’s what great leadership is. Empowerment. That’s how organizations become great and succeed.
Good people are put in place and then allowed to do their jobs. Sounds simple.
That empowerment is why the Giants have two World Series championships in the last three years. The lack of that empowerment is why the Dallas Cowboys haven’t appeared in a Super Bowl since 1996. Can you imagine Jerry Jones allowing anyone else to make a decision?
The Giants have won recently because Bochy has fostered an atmosphere of the team coming first.
Let’s look back a couple of weeks and remember the noise over Alex Rodriguez being pinch-hit for and benched. Compare that to Bochy’s handling of former Cy Young Award winners during his World Series runs.
Barry Zito was left off the 2010 World Series roster despite being the fourth-highest-paid pitcher in baseball at $18.5 million that season.
This year, two-time Cy Young Winner Tim Lincecum was taken out of the rotation and put in the bullpen for the World Series.
You didn’t hear a peep out of Zito in 2010 and this year he came back to give the Giants an outstanding start in Game 1.
Lincecum not only accepted his new role, he thrived in it, and played a key role in the Giants’ win.
Further evidence of the fact that culture won these World Series for the Giants can be seen in the fact that Buster Posey is the only position player who started in both 2010 and 2012.
The outfield of Pat Burrell, Andres Torres and Cody Ross was replaced this year with Gregor Blanco, Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence.
The infield of Aubrey Huff, Freddie Sanchez, Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe was replaced with Brandon Belt, Marco Scutaro, Brandon Crawford and Pablo Sandoval.
Are you kidding me?
Culture allowed the Giants to lose the first two games of the NL Divisional Series at home and then beat the Reds three straight in Cincinnati to take the best of five.
The Reds hadn’t lost three straight at home all year.
Culture allowed the Giants to come back from down three-games-to-one to St. Louis and beat the Cardinals three straight to win the NL Championship Series.
Bobby Valentine and Ozzie Guillen? Not so much.
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